Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Most Popular Ramen In Osaka

My Japan's trip posts have been fast forward to the last night in Osaka. I think I have dragged it too long making it smell like salted fish. I have not forgotten to post the gossip tales of marriage woes of other friends. Well, the next priority post will be the funeral of my old friend who had requested for the most elaborate Taoist Hokkien rites complete with the singing, invitation of deceased souls, "Kong Teik" Paper mansion, street funeral band and cremation. You know what? Many foreigners had google searched for funerals and came to see my earlier blog on funeral postings of my Thai uncle and my father-in-law. So this elaborate Taoist Hokkien rites should be able to share with the world of some traditional Chinese funerals.

1. It was our last night in Osaka and we had to look for our favourite 
Ramen shop inside the busy Dotonbori hub. For first timers, you are advised
to stay in hotels around Namba & Dotonbori for convenience and shopping.

2. I love all their attractive advertising icons hanging to
attract the customers! Being an advertising guy, I love
to admire and snap all the photos. 

3. It was almost Spring and many pretty flowers were sold everywhere!

 4. Aha!! We found it! The big Dragon is the most famous Ramen Shop
in Osaka and all visitors must try it. It is cheap and good.

5. This is the pre-pay machine outside the shop for diners to place their
orders. The only have 2 staff at the counter and that saves labour costs!
The plain water and assorted vegetables like Kim Chi is free for you
to scoop at the counter. That was the big bonus for us to scoop so much
until it became a Korean Kim Chi Ramen! LOL

 6. The group eating in the middle consisted of a grey haired
CEO of a big company who visited Osaka. He walked in with his
bodyguards and entourage who seemed to introduce the Osaka's
ramen to him.

 7. We ate and ate happily again since the last meal was in 2014.
As usual, I forgot to snap the photo of my bowl of delicious ramen.
Tsk! Tsk!

8. We went for a quick walk after the meal and joined the big crowds of
China's comrades who were busy taking photos at the most photographed
spot in Osaka and maybe Japan... 
The reflections on the canal of the Ebisu Bridge is nice!

 9. One for our Love Album. 2 lovers under the famous
Ebisu Bridge in Osaka.

 10. Twilight Man posing with the most famous Osaka's illuminated "Glico Man" 
billboard ad in the world. He will keep running till the finishing line.

 11. I like to drink Asahi Beer. It is very dry and different from other beers.

 12. Do you know that checking out of new hotels in Japan
is super fast now. Just slot your room's key-card into the machine
and Sayonara Japan! I will be back again in 2017 - Sapporo!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

Our fridge was full again, after collecting some good leftover food from recent functions. We had so much roasted meat, knuckles, scallops and fruit salads in packed containers. So my wifey suggested that we should pack them into the new bento boxes with mineral water bottles to feed the homeless friends around Kuala Lumpur's city.

I know that some smart fellas posted silly remarks in Facebook that those who wanted to help the less fortunate should never use the social media to brag and glorify their good deeds. That's a show off and not sincere, according to them. Yes I appear to show off, just once or twice a year in my blog but we fed them as often as we could lay our hands on all the extra left over food. I am just sharing here again because I want to create awareness once more, so that everyone will continue to do their part when the opportunity arises. Do not waste unnecessary food as it is very sinful when there are millions of very hungry people around the world today.

She fried a big wok of delicious hot udon noodles and packed them into
special bento boxes. We sorted out all the extra dishes and meat into
the neat squares!

 I am always a very thick skinned person at dinner functions to request
for all the left overs which would eventually be thrown away! 
Do not be shy to tell the waiters at the wedding or function dinners
to pack all the unwanted leftovers to bring home. You can feed your
dogs or even any poor hungry people in our neighbourhood. 
Are you aware that all these eating establishments do not allow
their staff or workers to bring leftovers home or even distribute to
anyone? They would gladly only allow the diners and guests to
pack them home for own consumption. If no takers, all would go
inside the big rubbish bin in the back lanes. How crazy!!!!

The most difficult part of this food distribution is not collecting and
packing the food but to track down the whereabouts of these homeless
friends at night. They never sleep in the same spot daily and they
would only appear from midnight onwards! You drive there before 11.00am
and you will see almost zero persons! They would come out to sleep
under the bridges, flyovers and pavements after midnight.
Some of them were too exhausted into deep sleep and I had
to shake them up to eat as I knew they were all hungry
without proper food for days, in some cases. They opened
their eyes and stared at me with the warm food in disbelief.
They held my hands to make sure they were not dreaming.
I would pull them up to sit and eat right away!

My heart will always cry to see them sleep on card boards.
When I saw the frail and sickly old lady sleeping alone,
my heart cried out for my mother who never had to suffer
this plight all her life before she left this world.
We all should unite in prayers for the world to 
end all the sufferings of our mankind.

If everyone puts their hearts to fill the holes, 
some day all the holes would be filled  
with human hearts.


Changing Faces Of China's Economy

As you could see that I have been quite a frequent traveler to China over the last few years. There were so many reasons that drew my deep interests to see this huge country which boasts of their highest population and widest cultural attractions.

We often chose to travel on our own across the country in order to appreciate their rich historical landmarks and scenic mountains. I was often thrown into many new eye openers and insane culture shocks as well. I could not really understand what I was seeing and experiencing on their economic and business tidings. Many of the China's smaller cities were booming fast with rapid developments where unused highways and “ghost cities” of empty apartment buildings are a common feature of China's landscape.. I definitely had wild guesses and thoughts pertaining to such sights on the disappearance of the folks and their migration. What was actually happening?

Now after reading so much from these awakening articles of the End Of The Migrant Miracle, it fed me with enough realistic information on the tidings of China's economic situation today. The country is just too huge for anyone to just stand inside to observe and make conclusions like that. 

Just watch the video below which Financial Times have clearly illustrated on China’s economy and labour force today. Once the most powerful country with highest population and workforce, it has reached a new critical chapter with the falling demands and economic slowdown which could easily drag our entire global economy into new crisis.

Being an overseas born Chinese, I am always proud to see and hear of any progress of my ancestral country in terms of latest business development, sports, educational, population, workforce and just everything. I found that only the Financial Times could provide me with the most updated news with its accuracy and facts. I am glad to have signed up their subscription. What are you waiting for?


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mount Koya @ Wakayama - Japan

We have listed this place Koyasan as our top priority destination
during our recent trip to Japan. It is one of the most sacred
mountains in their country which is really amazing and nice.
This Mount Koya or Koyasan is so interesting that we decided
to visit again in future and stay overnight on this mountain
as a good retreat for our mind, body and soul.

1. We took a Nankai Electric Railway train for 2 hours from Osaka to
Wakayama Prefecture where Mount Koya is.

 2. The train ride was very relaxing to weave in & out of many mountains and
tunnels passing endless of quaint houses and hamlets in the valleys.
I repeatedly asked myself if I could ever survive in these peaceful 
and quiet towns.

3. After changing another train, we finally arrived the Gokurakubashi 
train station to board the cable car up to the peak of Mount Koya.

 3. It is so steep and took us 5 minutes to reach the top. The buses
were ready to fetch anyone to the nearby quaint town.

 4. Koyasan has over 116 temples and a population of just 3000 people. 
This unknown place was once a male-revered area only 100 years ago. 
I got this above photo from here to share the aerial view showing
the town's lotus leaf shape! The photographer was smart to snap the
snow covered roofs during one winter for better view of the shape.

 5. The bus passed the small interesting town before ending outside
our final destination at Okunoin Temple which has a cemetery of over
200,000 gravestones!

6. We did the usual cleansing ritual to purify ourselves before
walking some 2 kilometers across the cemetery to reach the 
Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. This famous monk Kobo Daishi who is 
better known as Kukai introduced the important Shingon Buddhism 
sect to Japan in year 805. Monk Kukai is one of Japan's most 
significant religious figures with long recorded history dating 
back to 1200 years ago where he had earlier sailed to Fujian in China
before going to Xian and Dunhuang to study Buddhism.
This November, we will be heading to Xian and Dunhuang too.

7. It was very cold and chilly around 0 degrees as we slowly walked
and passed all the tombs, mausoleums and memorials. The whole
cemetery is very huge spanning across few kilometers.

The whole cemetery is open to public with a fee to use their
portable "Audio Guide" for tourists but we didn't use them.

 8. I was very calm and felt peaceful to tip toe along this well spaced
cemetery paths and observed the Japanese way of burying and respecting
those who passed away since a thousand years ago.

 9. According to the superstition of the Shingon Buddhist School
there are no dead in Okunoin, but only waiting spirits! You should
read the link if you wish to understand why most Japanese folks
believe about this powerful Monk Kukai until many wanted to
be buried outside his mausoleum.

  10. I was very surprised to learn that in Japan, many big conglomerates and
big companies would set up memorials inside this cemetery to honour all the
dead who were formerly their employees. The above rocket's memorial tomb
was built in memory of all those who died in their aviation industry.

11. The above is the memorial by the Nissan Motors for all
their departed employees. I wonder whether my greedy bosses have
such good hearts.

 12. The above is a family's spacious mausoleum where the 
old parents's statues are resting at the sofa on the right.
I could spot the 3 auspicious Feng Shui design pillar towers
in the middle.

 13. The whole place was lighted up as it quickly grew dark
during the Winter. Naturally, there were creepy shadows everywhere.
My chicken heart gave me goosebumps and my hair stood upright.

 14. When I am scared of ghosts, I must look for my wife!
She knows that, after seeing how I hid behind her when
we entered the Haunted House in Disneyland, Hong Kong.
The masked vampire pounced on me screaming at my neck!
 I freaked out madly and repeatedly punched him so bloody hard
until the vampire cried loudly & pulled my shirt to wrestle!

15. Some unique old tomb stones with green moss all over.
Now can you spot the auspicious Feng Shui tower in the middle tower?

 16. This mausoleum is over 600 years old and was built
for Matsudaira Hideyasu (1574 - 1607) and his mother.

17. In Winter, most deity statues would be wrapped nicely
with knitted caps and jacket as a seasonal gesture of respect.

18. This is another unique eye opener for me to see the names
of those who served in the marine industry during their lifetime.
They placed the written name tablets into the river which
I would assume connects & flows down to the open sea.
I sent this photo to my good friend Keitaro Kobayashi who
kindly explained this.

19. It was my first time seeing so many tall Cedar Trees
which are as old as 600 years and stands close to 200 feet high! 
Their bulletin boards mentioned over 1300 Cedar Trees are
found inside this huge forest.
I love their fresh smells and good feeling to admire the trees which
have survived so many seasons, wars and earthquake disasters!
I am a regular user of this pure Cedar Wood Essential Oils
which is very good for our health and well being.

20. Many heavenly statues line the bridge to one of the temples.

21. At the entrance leading to the Gobyo Mausoleum Of Monk Kukai.
Photography is strictly prohibited beyond this point as
the Japanese believe he is still alive inside in eternal meditation.
Please read the board below.

22. We walked inside and placed candles & joss sticks before offering our prayers.
I also requested the monks to chant 3 day prayer dedication for my late mother
and father-in-law. The closed mausoleum is located behind the big temple building.

23. I believe that this sacred place has many wandering spirits where some
people could hear their whispers too. Can you see this old tree that has a
face on it?? He said "Come Again"...

We will visit again someday & sleep inside the temples
beside this huge Okunoin Cemetery which is the largest 
 cemetery in the whole of Japan.

 My next and last post of the Japan trip
will highlight the famous Ramen shop
in Dotonbori area.


The Day My World Ended

At sunrise of 3rd August, my wife came to fetch me in her brand new car. She sped all the way through the morning traffic to Shah Alam. It w...